Jerome Simpson's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook and Analysis After Week 1

Alex KayCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2013

Sep 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson (81) makes a diving catch in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Simpson has long been one of the most tantalizing yet frustrating talents in the NFL, but that seems to have changed after Week 1 of the 2013 NFL campaign.

The Minnesota Vikings wide receiver notched 140 yards on seven receptions during a loss to the Detroit Lions. He looked to have an excellent rapport with third-year quarterback Christian Ponder and should be in line for an excellent season.

Simpson may not have been the top receiver on the depth chart going into the opener—that distinction belongs to veteran Greg Jennings—but he’s quickly developing into Ponder’s favorite target.

Jennings received seven targets during the contest—producing three receptions for 33 yards—while Simpson was targeted eight times and made much more of an impact when the ball came his way.

If he keeps this up, the sixth-year man out of Coastal Carolina may finally live up to the lofty expectations the Cincinnati Bengals had for him when they drafted him back in 2008.

Some may be worrying that rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vikings’ first-round pick in 2013, will eventually emerge and render Simpson relatively worthless in fantasy football. That doesn’t seem like it will be the case anytime soon, as Patterson hauled in just one pass—on one target—for 10 measly yards Sunday.

Factor in Adrian Peterson’s utter domination on the ground—All Day broke out for a 78-yard scamper on Minnesota’s first offensive play from scrimmage this year—and you will realize that Simpson is going to see almost exclusive one-on-one coverage all season long.

Due to his uncanny speed and athleticism, Simpson will definitely be able to break a few big plays and become a regular fixture in the emerging Vikings passing game. Don't expect 140-yard performances every week, but he should be a solid WR3 with WR2 upside most weeks.

Most only know Simpson for his SportsCenter-dominating highlight play back in December 2011, when the wildly athletic, 6’2”, 190-pound wideout literally front-flipped over Daryl Washington of the Arizona Cardinals.

He showed flashes of dynamic play there and throughout the season—Simpson finished 2011 with 50 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns—but hasn’t been a viable fantasy option since.

Simpson’s first year with the Vikings did not go as planned. The 27-year-old was suspended for the first three games of the year after violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and he ultimately recorded just 26 receptions for 274 yards and no scores. 

It seems that the veteran has turned over a new leaf heading into the new season and should start generating some consideration in deeper fantasy leagues. He’s only owned in two percent of Yahoo! leagues, but that number could sharply rise after most waiver wires open and if he has another good outing against the Chicago Bears in Week 2.

Make sure you put a waiver claim in for Simpson right now in deeper leagues and keep a close eye on his production next Sunday if you aren’t already planning on it. He could be well worth an addition to your fantasy squad.